IBM Adds Opteron Blade to Linux Cluster

The company releases BladeCenter servers running dual-core AMD Opteron chips as part of its Cluster 1350 offering.

IBM is bulking up the capabilities of its Cluster 1350 offerings.

The company on Wednesday released its BladeCenter LS20 blade, powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s dual-core Opteron processor. IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., added the blade and new interconnect technologies to the cluster lineup.

IBM first announced the LS20 in April during AMDs second anniversary celebration of its 64-bit Opteron processor. The systems maker also is putting the chip into the IntelliStation A Pro 6217 and the eServer 326.

IBM already offers the Cluster 1350 with systems running its own Power processors and Intel Corp. chips.

"In the cluster environment, there is a lot of interest in running dense [clusters] and to look at blades role in the clusters," said Bob Lenard, director of Linux clusters for IBMs eServer xSeries.

Linux clusters are among the fastest-growing segments in the HPC [high-performance computing] space, increasing at more than 30 percent a year, Lenard said. Theyre gaining traction in such areas as pharmaceutical and financial services, he said.

The Cluster 1350 also will support IBMs new eServer 326, a 1U (1.75-inch) rack system that runs on AMDs dual-core Opterons. In addition, for Power-based clusters running the JS20 blades, users can now run the pSeries 710 and 720 systems as management and storage nodes.

The University of Buffalo has been running a 532-CPU Cluster 1350 comprising HS20 blades running on 2.8GHz Xeons for about a year to help in its work studying protein behavior and developing drugs. Jeffrey Skolnick, director of the universitys Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, said getting a powerful environment with industry-standard equipment is crucial for an institution like his. The BladeCenter systems also enable the university to save on power costs and data center space.

IBMs new dual-core Opteron blades will be an option when the university upgrades its cluster, he said. He hopes to have an LS20 in hand in about a month to test.

"In principle, were very interested," Skolnick said. "Well do the appropriate benchmarking when we get one of those to play with."

IBM also is growing the number of switch and interconnect options in the Cluster 1350. It will now support Voltaire Inc.s InfiniBand Switch Router 9288, as well as technology from Myricom Inc. and QLogic Corp.


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